Every Week It's Wibbley-Wobbley Timey-Wimey Pookie-Reviewery...

Saturday 16 November 2013

Your Choice

The newest game from Looney Labs, best known for the Fluxx family of games and the time manipulation card game, Chrononauts is Choose One. This is a party style game much in the vein of Apples to Apples or Say Anything in that it is all about knowing your friends and the answers they might give to certain questions or matches. It plays quickly and easily with simple rules for between three and ten players; a game should last no longer than forty minutes and can be picked up and understood within moments of opening the box and reading the rules sheet.

Choose One consists of ten sets of pairs of Choice cards, three hundred Topic cards, a Score Board, and a mix of scoring tokens that fit in a little cloth bag. The scoring tokens are really rather nice and include a metal nut, a plastic brain, a wooden heart, and even a button! These are used to indicate each player’s score on the score board and provide some pleasing individuality. The Score Board is solidly mounted and is marked from one to ten and then a “Winner!” space. The Choice cards are used each round to indicate a player’s choice and come in a pair one blue and one white card. The Topic cards each have a blue and white section and have single word or phrase in each, for example, “an evening home alone” or “attending a party” or “Lost” or “Gilligan’s Island”. (It should be noted that the blue on both the Topic and Choice is a very purple shade of blue).

At game’s start, each player is given a set of Choice cards and receives a hand of five Topic cards. He chooses a token and places on the Start spot on the Score Board. Then play begins. Each turn, one player is the Chooser and picks a Topic card from his hand and shows it to the other players. They have to decide which of the two choices the Chooser will select. The Chooser indicates his choice by holding either his blue or white Choice card, face down. In doing so, the Chooser has to make a truthful choice. In other words, he cannot bluff. The other players will also select one of their Choice cards and hold it face down in front of them. Once everyone has made their choice, the cards will be revealed. If nobody’s card matches the Chooser's answer, then the Chooser gets two points. If any player’s card matches the Chooser’s answer, then both they and the Chooser are awarded a point. If nobody guesses correctly, then nobody gains any points. Points are tallied on the score board and the next player becomes the Chooser. The first person to move their token onto the Winner's Circle – having scored eleven points – is the winner. (Having to score eleven points to win makes the game slightly harder to win, as does the fact that somebody has to make the wrong choice for anybody to score points).
So for example, Richard is the Chooser and plays the Topic card that has “candles” in the white portion of the card and “Lava Lamp” in the blue section. He reads the entries out and makes his by placing a Choice card down on the table. James, Nick, Matt, and Bill take a moment to decide which they think of the two options that Richard will choose and play a Choice that they think will match the one played by Richard. Everyone reveals their Choice card. Richard’s Choice card is Blue, that is, he chose “Lava Lamp”. As did James, Nick, and Bill, but not Matt, who played a White Choice card thinking that Richard’s choice was “candles”. Richard, James, Nick, and Bill are all awarded one point, but Matt scores nothing.
Choose One is a nicely appointed game. It comes in a small box and is thus easily portable. Its rules are simple and the game is easy to play – undemanding in fact. Its Topic cards are American, but then so is the publisher and the game’s intended audience. Given that the game’s tag line is, “How well do you know your friends?” it is no surprise that it plays better with people that you know and people that know you, be they friends or family. Overall, Choose One is a pleasing party filler that tweaks a familiar format.

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